Banning ‘Takataka’ song only serves to make it more popular

Kenya Film Classification Board chief executive officer Ezekiel Mutua addresses a press conference in Kisumu on March 13, 2019. The board has banned the song "Takataka" by Alvindo. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Another argument has been that one of the song’s pernicious effects is that children, who are already singing the lyrics, would start putting the words into action.
  • It’s the parents’ job to protect their children from the influence of such music. That’s what parental control buttons and punishments are for.

The smelly song "Takataka" by Alvindo was banned by Kenya’s famous moral cop Dr Ezekiel Mutua last week.

Speaking at a press conference, Dr Ezekiel Mutua said that the song should be rejected by members of any self-respecting society.

Perhaps the self-respecting society he was referring to in part was the KOT choir, of which I’m a staunch member. We were ready with the #BanTakataka hashtag long before Alvin aka Alvindo knew what had hit him.

Like its title suggests, the song stinks of misogyny, violence and crude language. Frankly speaking, it belongs in the sewer. In Dr Mutua’s words, it glorifies violence against women as a normal reaction to rejection.

In "Takataka", the main character tells the woman whose heart is “as dirty as the devil’s” that he will “bewitch her and attend her funeral while laughing as she is buried”. See what Dr Mutua meant?

THERAPY

In his defence and strange show of bravado, Alvindo’s producer told a local blog that the young man was just trying to earn a living.

Alvindo himself admitted during an interview with a local newspaper that while the song was based on his life, parts of it were exaggerated.

First, let’s just agree that this young man needs therapy more than he needs a music contract.

Perhaps it will also wake him up to the reality that one need not assault another’s hearing sense when making music.

This is the only ban by Dr Mutua that I fully participated in campaigning for, and I joined others in celebration when it came. But in retrospect, we should all have shaken our heads in dismay because the ban was an exercise in futility.

Some anti-Takataka crusaders have credited the song and others of its kind for being the soundtrack of love-related murders.

TOLERANCE

Murders like that of Ivy Wangechi, who was axed to death allegedly by Naftali Kinuthia a week ago for allegedly refusing his romantic advances.

But when has a murderer ever needed a song to make him act, and weren’t these murders happening long before such songs assaulted our ears?

It’s ironical that while many Kenyans will publicly denounce the song, maybe to stay politically correct, they will busy themselves twerking to its beats in the cover of darkness and neon lights in nightclubs.

They will also follow his story eagerly when he is hosted on TV shows.

And speaking of nightclubs, there are raunchier, more offensive songs than "Takataka" that are played by DJs.

Songs that glorify violence, drug abuse, promiscuity and sexual perversion. So what’s so different about "Takataka" then that warrants a ban?

CHILDREN

Another argument has been that one of the song’s pernicious effects is that children, who are already singing the lyrics, would start putting the words into action.

But we all know that children are sponges that will absorb everything from Rayvanny and Diamond Platnumz’s "Tetema", which advocates for God-knows-what, to the popular "Baby Shark" song.

So, "Takataka" is not the problem, really. Besides, it’s the parents’ job to protect their children from the influence of such music. That’s what parental control buttons and punishments are for.

Apart from making Alvindo more famous and probably more delusional by banning the song, Dr Mutua has unfortunately also lent credence to what can only be said to be ghastly music.

SOCIETY

In any case, Alvindo and his team have defied the ban and released a video of the song, starring a number of local comedians.

And if we were going to ban songs for having inappropriate content, we may want to start from the archives.

Alvindo is just the fly we are trying to kill with a sledge hammer, forgetting that as an artiste, he is a reflection of what’s already happening in the society: Murders, violence, impunity and general wantonness.

He may have issues about facing rejection, but he’s certainly in touch with the goings-on in this country. And don’t most politicians “rap” worse lyrics anyway?

Alvindo is just a symptom of our own failings in Kenya and banning his song is not worth the effort.

The writer is the editor, Living Magazine; foneya@ke.nationmedia.com